The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is a global network of individuals
& organisations concerned with the protection, promotion & support of breastfeeding worldwide.
WABA action is based on the Innocenti Declaration, the Ten Links for Nurturing the Future and the
Global Strategy for Infant & Young Child Feeding. WABA is in consultative status with UNICEF & an NGO
in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).


WABA Health Care Practices Task Force (HCPTF)

The objective of the Health Care Practices Task Force is to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in the community, in clinics, and in hospitals through networking and collaboration with organisations, governments, and individuals.

The HCPTF provides information and shares updates on breastfeeding-related issues e.g. Baby-Friendly (Hospital) Initiative, Human Milk Banking, Birth Spacing & Breastfeeding, Birthing Practices & Breastfeeding, Complementary Feeding, HIV & Breastfeeding, and breastfeeding counselling

WABA HCPTF recognises that protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding begins during pregnancy and is enhanced through the labour and birth experience. This task force will link with various organisations like BAMBI (Childbirth/Breastfeeding Foundation), WEDO (Women Environment and Development Organisation) and ICM (International Confederation of Midwives), among others.

Specific advocacy goals include fostering support of:
  • The Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative’s Global Criteria for Mother-Friendly Care.
  • The International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative
  • Millennium Develop Goals 1, 3, 4, 5, & 6

The late Mary Kroeger, BSN, CNM, MPH, past chair of WABA’s Health Care Practices Task Force quotes in her book Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding: “Advocate for the mother-baby continuum by taking the stand that breastfeeding cannot be the “physiologic norm” without including “physiologic childbirth” and immediate and uninterrupted mother-baby contact.”

Meet the HCP Task Force and People

WABA Health Care Practices Task Force is now being helmed by Marina Rea as Coordinator, and co-coordinated by Asha Benakappa and Rae Davies.

Marina Ferreira Rea
Marina Ferreira Rea is a Medical Doctor and a specialist in Human Lactation with Wellstart International.
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She has a Master and Doctorate Degree in Preventive Medicine, with research studies on breastfeeding. She is currently working at the Institute of Health, S.Paulo, Brazil, and is a member of the Brazilian National Breastfeeding Committee within the Ministry of Health. She was a former Medical Officer at WHO in Geneva, responsible for breastfeeding activities and is a member of scientific societies such as ISRHML and Pediatric Association, and a member of IBFAN and WABA, where she is the Coordinator of the WABA Task Force on Health Care Practices.

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Asha D. Benakappa
Dr. Asha D. Benakappa is currently working as Professor of Pediatrics at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute and has been promoting breastfeeding for the past 25 years in various capacities.
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She joined the WABA Health Care Practices Task Force in 2009.

Asha is the Bangalore city co-coordinator for the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) and has succeeded in certifying all Corporation Maternity Homes UNICEF Baby-Friendly. She is a National trainer for the infant and young child feeding consultant course, trainer for gender issues in breastfeeding and has conducted thousands of workshops for health workers and communities on breastfeeding. She has also written a book titled Breastfeeding, the basic instinct, published a paper in the May 2003 issue of Indian Pediatrics - New-Lactation technique to breastfeed asphyxiated babies, and has developed a flipchart in both English and the local language to reach community members. She has won several awards from BPNI and is a founder trustee of the NGO Lactation Helpline.

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Rae Davies
Rae Davies, BSH, CD (DONA), LCCE, IBCLC, is the WABA Health Care Practices Task Force Co-coordinator.
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For over thirty years, Rae's professional career has been dedicated to childbirth and breastfeeding education. Along with providing training programs for doulas, childbirth educators, midwives and nurses, Rae serves as the Administrative Director for the International MotherBaby Childbirth Organisation, an NGO whose purpose is to promote 10 Steps to Optimal Maternity Care in order to save lives, prevent illness and harm from the overuse of obstetric technologies, and to promote health for mothers and babies. Rae also serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery.

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WABA Expanded BFHI Working Group is Co-coordinated by Miriam Labbok and Felicity Savage. The Secretariat liaison for this working group is Amal Omer-Salim. It works closely with the HCP Task Force to share on those breastfeeding-related issues.

Miriam H Labbok
Miriam H Labbok, MD, MMS, MPH, IBCLC, FABM, is a professor of Maternal and Child Health and director of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI) at the University of North Carolina.
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Previously, Dr Labbok served as Sr Advisor for Infant and Young Child Feeding at UNICEF and Chief of Nutrition and Maternal Health at USAID, Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins and Associate Professor at Georgetown University where she was Director of the WHO Center of Excellence on Breastfeeding. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University, and Tulane University. She was a resident in pediatrics at Georgetown and a post-doc in epidemiology and preventative medicine residency at Johns Hopkins. She has >35 years of research, technical assistance, training, program and policy development experience related to maternal/child dyad health, reproductive health and nutrition in >50 countries, is known for her contributions to the development and testing of the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM). She has published more than 300 chapters, articles, monographs, and abstracts, has presented hundreds of invited lectures and seminars, and has received many honors academia and professional organizations. She is a founder of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.

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Felicity Savage
Felicity Savage lived and worked as a pediatrician in developing countries for a total of 18 years, in Zambia (1966-72), Indonesia (1972-78) and Kenya (1979-84).
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During that time she worked in community paediatrics with a particular interest in nutrition; and has written books, developed courses and other training materials, and taught health workers about breastfeeding.

From 1993 – 2001 Dr. Savage worked as a Medical Officer with WHO in Geneva, in the Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development where she was responsible for the promotion of breastfeeding, policy development and training, including the area of HIV and infant feeding. She continues to promote breastfeeding with particular concern for education and training of health professionals. She is Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Centre for International Child Health, Institute of Child Health, London, where she is founding Director of the annual Breastfeeding: Practice and Policy Course. She is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP), Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine (FHPHM), Fellow of the Royal College of Paeditrics and Child Health (FRCPCH), Fellow of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, and Fellow of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics. She was a pioneer in the development of the breastfeeding movement in the 1980s, leading up to the formulation of the Innocenti Declaration in 1991 and the inception of WABA, and she continues to undertake consultancies in all regions, for NGO’s as well as for UNICEF and WHO, mostly relating to health worker training in breastfeeding and related subjects. She is currently Chairperson of the WABA Steering Committee.

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WABA Education & Training Working Group is Co-coordinated by Audrey Naylor and Anwar Fazal; its members are Felicity Savage, Mirim Labbok and Raj Anand. The Secretariat liaison for this working group is Amal Omer-Salim. This working group coordinates and facilitates the education and training of personnel in the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding.

Audrey Naylor
Audrey Naylor, President and CEO of Wellstart International, is a board certified pediatrician with additional training in infant development, maternal and child health and epidemiology.
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In addition to receiving a degree in Medicine from the University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine, she also holds a DrPH in Epidemiology (with a major focus on perinatal care) from UCLA School of Public Health. She has a lifetime professional interest in maternal, infant, and family health promotion, preferring to prevent rather than treat disease. In 1985, she co-founded Wellstart International, a nonprofit organisation established to educate health care providers (medical and nursing students as well as perinatal specialty residents), in the “why and hows” of optimal infant and young child feeding. She has been instrumental in both international efforts to promote breastfeeding as the normal and optimal way to feed infants and young children and is a founding member of the World Alliance of Breastfeeding Action. She is currently a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics (Voluntary, part-time) at The University of Vermont College of Medicine.

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Anwar Fazal
Anwar Fazal is the Chairperson Emeritus of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA),
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and has been a driving force in the founding and growth of WABA and also various international NGOs, such as the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), Health Action International (HAI), Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and Citizens International. Anwar’s contributions in the areas of consumer health, environment, human rights and peace issues have brought him local and global recognition, among them the Right Livelihood Award, popularly known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize,” the Global 500 Award by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Mother Earth News Hall of Fame, The Gandhi-King-Ikeda Community Builders Peace Award, and Honorary Doctorates in Law and Philosophy. He also serves as Chairperson of the Malaysian Interfaith Network and the Taiping Peace Initiative. He was a co-founder of Transparency International Malaysia, the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and a former President of the International Organisation of Consumers Unions (IOCU) and the Environmental Liaison Centre International (ELCI).

Anwar was trained in Economics and Education and has worked in teaching, local and state governments and for 12 years with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on urban governance issues in Asia and the Pacific. He is currently, a Professor and Director of the Right Livelihood College (RLC) based at the University Sains Malaysia (USM) in Penang, Malaysia.

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Breastfeeding Advocacy and Practice
A Regional Outreach Course by the
Infant Feeding Consortium, United Kingdom, and WABA.
11th – 23rd November 2013
Penang, Malaysia

Infant Feeding: Practice & Policy Course
1st– 12th July + 15th– 17th July 2013
( Click here for details )

Enhancing Education in Lactation Management in The Undergraduate Medical Curriculum
3rd – 4th May 2012, Penang
co-organised by World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and Penang Medical College

2012 ILCA Conference: Call to Action: New Perspectives in Human Lactation
July 25 - 29, 2012 • Orlando, Florida, USA • JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes

old HCP page

World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action
PO Box 1200, 10850 Penang, Malaysia | Tel: 604-6584816 | Fax: 604-6572655 | E-mail: |